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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Voice mail

DISCLAIMER: Over the last several weeks, I have been encouraged to write regularly about the accident from 2004. I am working my way through writing a book about the incident. So, every Tuesday, I've taken the opportunity to write, remember and share snapshots of that tragic event.

Last night, Lisa and I got the kids off to bed and decided to watch a movie. The movie follows the life of a young lady whose husband dies as the result of a brain tumor. It chronicles her life as she works to pick up the pieces of her world and learn to live again.

In one scene, the woman rushes into her apartment, picks up her cell phone and calls her husband's old number just to hear his voice on the mailbox greeting. I remembered the times that I used to do the same thing.

Sarah's phone was destroyed in the accident (I assume this because I don't remember ever seeing it afterwards). It wasn't until weeks later that a friend of ours confessed to me that she had been calling Sarah's old number just to hear her voice. I remember getting in the truck after that conversation and immediately grabbing my phone so I could do the same. It would be one of hundreds of times where I would do that. There were times when I just needed to hear her voice again. Sometimes, I would tuck the kids in bed at night and pull out my phone. Frustrated that her greeting wasn't longer, I'd play it over and over again--hitting the redial button.

Then came that fateful day when the voice went away. It was gone. The phone company finally gave the number away to someone else, some other voice. It was just another place of letting go that had to come for me.

It's like the first time I let Harrison swim alone in the pool. He was clinging so tightly to me. As long as he held me, he was fine. But as I lowered him into the water--swimmies and all--he dug in with his fingers, refusing to let go. Little did he understand the wonderful experience that awaited him if only he would let go. I had to pry his hands loose.

Sarah's voice was my attempt to hang on. Forget that God had other wonderful experiences for me. I simply wanted to hold onto the one that was comfortable, the one that brought me such great joy. Just like Harrison's holding on to me in the pool, it wasn't wrong or bad. It just was time to let go. It was time to move on to the next thing God had for me. At that time, it was being a single dad, embracing my chance to love on my kids and love on my church. I couldn't do what I had to for them as long as I continued to cling to Sarah. God knew that. He just needed to convince me.

I hope you're thinking through those things for yourself. I run into a lot of people who are still in the clinging stage. And I'm not just talking about losing someone you love to death. Maybe it's a marriage. Maybe it's a child that's grown and gone. Maybe you're clinging to an old career that gave you self-worth or a dream that refuses to die though you know you need to bury it. Learn to let go. Trust God. His plans can often be scary or intimidating. But they shouldn't be. He has a perfect plan, a wonderful plan that He has designed for you. A plan that is waiting to be discovered and embraced.

It begins with letting go.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Ridley--- I left a conversation between me and Mama that had recorded on her answering machine for a long time. Then it was time to "let go." Thanks to modern technology, (videos, etc.,) we can keep these memories alive longer. But I STILL keep her hair brush in a special place and pull it out every now and then to "smell" her. Give our love to the family. Susan

hold_fast061706 said...

So I'm not the only one out there who does this! My dad died a few months ago and I cant tell you how many times I call his cell phone just to hear his voice. I have a video where you cant see nothing, but you can hear his voice, he was laughing the whole time.. i play it over and over. Guess I haven't got to the "let go" part yet. I guess only being 21 makes it hard, i miss him so much. :( Not really sure I want to let go. I love reading your writings. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...


After hearing you speak at the AL State MGMA I occasionally check your website. I am so glad that I did today. Get thoughts and get lessons in your words.
Shryl Oliver

Diana said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who admits to trying to hold on to what was left. My husband recorded my mom's voice onto an mp3 so we would have it because my dad finally had the phone number disconnected.

Thank you for your insight and helping some of us along in our own journey's through the revelations that God is showing you